Friday, May 19 –
“Sensing Smells” 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Friday, May 19, Hitchcock Hall, Room 132-Auditorium) UW campus (reception will follow at William H. Foege Auditorium – North Foege Bldg. lobby). The Rushmer lecture will be given by Wolfgang Knoll, Ph.D., from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Vienna, Austria. For the sensing of light, e.g., in optical communication, we have extremely powerful devices with the ability to detect even single photons. Similarly, the monitoring of force/pressure is technically no problem, e.g., for sound detection in acoustic communication. However, in the area of chemical communication, e.g. for smell or taste detection on a technical level, we have (nearly) nothing. Despite the fact that the monitoring of chemicals in the environment is among the oldest of our sensory repertoires, we have essentially no technical device that offers the sensitivity and the bandwidth needed to sense and to differentiate between different odors and tastes. Earlier attempts to fill this gap by “artificial noses” failed (with the only notable exception being the “alcohol breath analyzer” used by police) mostly because of lack of sufficient sensitivity. Dr. Knoll’s talk will review mechanisms of mammalian and insect smell, and provide insights on how biomimetic approaches can be used to design smell and taste sensors that overcome the sensitivity problems. Contact Shirley Nollette at 206.685.2002 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.